various artists,
Lady & the Tramp & Friends
(Walt Disney, 2006)

While Lady & the Tramp is a popular Disney film, it's rarely ever been "up there" with other Disney classics. This album shows that, at least musically, it's just as deserving of the title "classic" as Snow White, Cinderella, Bambi or Pinocchio.

Actually, if one examines only the songs of these films, I'd wager that Lady & the Tramp ranks higher than most. "He's a Tramp" has that jazzy coolness about it that sets it apart from most Disney songs. "The Siamese Cat Song" is very memorable, if not a bit annoying with the twin terrors' singing style. "Bella Notte" is the song from Lady & the Tramp's most famous scene -- yes, the one with the spaghetti noodle. It's not a perfect song, but you'll be able to hear why it helped make that scene a classic. Two other songs that might envoke an "oh, right..." of remembrance are "La La Lu" (inspired by '50s French pop couture) and "Peace on Earth."

Also on the album are two other unnoticed songs from Disney's renaissance era. "Kiss the Girl," an under-appreciated ballad from The Little Mermaid is one of Sebastian's shining moments. "Under the Sea" gets all the attention, but this song played just as much a part in the story. "Something There" from Beauty & the Beast was a turning point for that story as well, but was always overshadowed by Gaston's bragadocious song or Belle's rant about rural living.

For some reason, there are two studio-style songs shoehorned into this collection of soundtrack songs. "Dear Heart" and "Hero of the Story" are nice songs and well performed, but do seem a bit tacked-on in relation to the soundtrack theme. (Note: I wish I could credit the singers, but the album jacket and even the Disney Records website offer no further information.)

Lady & the Tramp & Friends might as well have been titled "Unnoticed Disney Gems." There are plenty of Disney songs that get all the attention, but these songs are deserving of notice as well. Longtime (and perhaps long-lived) Disney fans will find value in this compilation album.

by C. Nathan Coyle
27 May 2006

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